Sunday, November 1, 2020

Mama Odie's Secret


I remember having a moment of animators' block during production of The Princess and the Frog.

In one scene during her song "Dig a little deeper" Mama Odie was searching through a chest, looking for  appropriate "musical instruments" for some of the other characters present. As she begins to dig in, the layout artist suggested that she throws out a shoe and a gavel at first.

The thing is that I had time for Mama Odie to throw ONE more item. So what should that be? A book, a piece of clothing, a plant....boring! For the life of me I could not think of anything clever (even though audiences would not really have the time to register the third object). I was starring at my animation disc forever...and then...of course, she will throw an animation disc.

I did not tell anybody about my choice, not the directors, not checking, nobody. AND IT WENT THROUGH. No phone call...what is this?...we can't have her do this...Everybody within the Disney pipeline knew exactly what this item was. By coloring the disc blue meant that this was a vintage metal animation disc. (The ones we worked on were black plastic.)

Mama Odie had some serious voodoo powers, but... she was also a 2D animator.

In order to find that frame I just took a cell phone pic off of my TV.


  1. Learning about behind-the-scenes fun-facts like this one makes me unreasonably happy :D
    That is such a clever idea! I'm so glad they let you keep this detail in.

  2. What a funny story!

    Seems everybody else was on the same wavelength Andreas. ;-)

  3. HAHAH! Priceless, well done! ❤👍

  4. I like to read storys like this one! :)

    I think I'm not the only one who rewind the movie on DVD when I watch something interesting or strange...

    Thanks for this fun-fact! :D

  5. I never noticed that before! How sneaky (in a clever way) of you!

  6. Whaaaat?! Hahaha. I love these little things.

  7. Sehr interessant, habe den Film erst vor ca. einer Woche im Disney Channel gesehen. Und das hat echt keiner gesehen bzw. bemerkt oder eher bewusst übersehen ? ;-) Na ja wie dem auch sei, es ist jedenfalls eine tolle Idee von Dir gewesen mit dem Animationstisch. Hatte den Film auch länger nicht mehr gesehen und war wieder überrascht wie schön er doch ist. Die Szenen mit dem beiden Fröschen einfach Klasse animiert und Mama Odie natürlich auch Spitze.
    Irgendwie schade das Disney keine neuen 2D Projekte mehr am laufen hat Es war doch noch mehr Kunst und Handwerk als wie die jetzigen 3D Sachen. Das soll natürlich nicht heißen das die Computer Filme schlecht sind, im Gegenteil es gibt viele tolle 3D Filme mit einer tollen Story die man sich auch immer wieder gerne anschaut.
    Glaube "Küss den Frosch" war auch der letzte Zeichentrick Film von Disney und wo du noch mit gearbeitet hast (oder Winnie Puuh) ?

    Schöne Grüße aus Norddeutschland nach Kalifornien ;-)
    Und das wichtigste, bleib gesund !

  8. Dear Andreas,
    As a student in ecole des beaux-arts, i always ask myself what is that strange difference between the drawings of animators and the drawings of artists like Degas or watteau. Even the imagination drawings of leonardo da vinci or many other artists are different. When animators draw a nude model, the shapes are quite different. Can you explain that fact ? Is it something about the way you animators see the white paper arround and inside the shapes ? Thanks in advance and sorry for my poor english. write for us + Doctors